Sport for Good, Sport as Good: Collective Impact Headlines First Laureus USA Town Hall
LeagueApps is a mission-driven organization. It’s clear when you take a look at the evidence—values hanging from the ceiling of the office, FundPlay supporting non-profits who serve kids with limited access to sports, the shoutouts for “team” and “grit” and “student of the game” at our weekly “All-Hands,” and especially, in the people who work here (and who we want to work here). Each person has a genuine interest and commitment to making youth sports better since they know the physical, emotional, and social benefits of sport.
As one colleague says, “We’re in the memory-creation business.”
Jared Cooper and I, Jennie Trayes, first met on the Laureus Sport for Good (SfG) NYC Leadership Council. That’s how I was introduced to the mission of LeagueApps and the community it was building. Jared runs FundPlay and joined the Council because he believes that stakeholders across all sectors of youth sports—including professional teams and leagues, for-profit organizations, and yes, technology companies—can be a part of the solution to issues of accessibility and youth sports participation. I initially joined the Council as part of my former role as Deputy Executive Director at Row New York, underscoring my passion for making sports more accessible to underserved communities. It is a privilege to remain on the board and now represent the LeagueApps mission, along with Jared.
Maybe not so ironically, Laureus and LeagueApps both share missions driven by values once echoed by Nelson Mandela. Laureus has this quote on their website and we have it on our HQ wall for all to see: “Sport has the power to change the world. It has the power to inspire. It has the power to unite people in a way that little else does.”
The Laureus SfG network has the common goal of building a community to drive progress and innovation in the field of sport for social change. SfG Leadership Councils help drive Collective Impact by engaging a diverse group of stakeholders to form that community—from grassroots non-profit organizations to corporations like LeagueApps to elected officials, government agencies, and brands.
Collective Impact is challenging, and it was reassuring to hear that from the expert panelists at our first Laureus SfG Quarterly Town Hall recently held in New York City.
Jared and I were excited to see LeagueApps partners, Downtown United Soccer Club and Kings County Tennis League, in the audience. Please read below for bios on the panelists and key takeaways from myself, Jared, and the rest of the SfG NYC Leadership Council.
Our panelists came from all over the world to join us:
- Abe Ferenandez, Vice President of Collective Impact and Director of the National Center for Community Schools at Children’s Aid Society.
- Pharlone Toussaint, Program Officer of Sport for Good Atlanta, a long-term, collaborative approach to strengthening the city’s west side communities through the power of sport.
- Ollie Dudfield, who leads the Commonwealth Secretariat’s work in supporting member countries to maximize and protect the contribution sport can make to sustainable economic, social and environmental development.
Here is what stood out most to the leadership council:
- Community is Key – #1. We can’t solve every challenge our athletes face. We have to seek Collective Impact by coming together to go beyond collaboration.
- “Collective Impact moves at the speed of trust” – There was a strong emphasis on bringing stakeholders together for Collective Impact to share common goals, bring unique skills to the table, and work hard on achieving those goals – but nothing is possible without trust, relationship-building, and the chance to play, sweat and have fun together!
- Data – The importance of making data-driven decisions was a frequent refrain. It has to be intuitive to use the data, making it “a flashlight instead of a hammer.”
- Iterate – Missed your goals the first time? Don’t throw the towel in. Collective Impact is iterative—you may make mistakes to learn from—and it may take time and process to reach those goals.
- Equity in Governance – Paramount. Governance with an equity lens is a precondition of Collective Impact work, specifically to establish who should be at the table. Marginalized groups should be represented and will serve an important part of the decision-making process.
- Listen – To underscore the point above: listen to the community in setting goals. “Start from the end”—the community you’re serving knows what they need most and can be a guidepost when setting goals that will truly benefit them.
The first Town Hall of the year set the foundation for the SfG Leadership Council – we have a year of listening, activating, and impacting ahead of us. I appreciate you reading more about LeagueApps and some of the work Jared and I are doing in the “SBYD” community in NYC.
And as you know, LeagueApps believes in being present—at events, tournaments, and when convening sports organizers, advocates, and experts. So please stay tuned for our 2020 event calendar! We’re definitely coming to a city near you.